Video game maker Riot Games Inc. announced today that it will move its headquarters from Santa Monica to West Los Angeles in spring 2015.
After coming close to a deal for 300,000 square feet in Playa Vista earlier this year, the growing tech company switched gears and has signed a 15-year lease for 284,000 square feet at Element LA, a project by West L.A. real estate company Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive.
Riot, which has experienced exponential growth in the last several years thanks to the popularity of its online “League of Legends” game, will grow the size of its offices almost 50 percent with the move.
The company, which has grown to more than 1,000 employees from just 75 three years ago, has had trouble keeping up with its real estate needs in recent years. Even before moving into the 47,000 square feet it initially leased at Equity Office’s Colorado Center last year, Riot realized the space would not be sufficient. The company has since expanded, through direct leases and subleases, to take more than 200,000 square feet there.
“We’ve consistently underestimated our need for space,” Brandon Beck, Riot co-founder and chief executive, has previously told the Business Journal.
The 11.6-acre Element campus, now under construction, will consist of five redeveloped buildings with wood bow-truss ceilings, saw-tooth skylights and large industrial windows. Hudson acquired the property from Merlone Geier Partners of San Francisco last year for $89 million.
The Business Journal reported in June that Riot Games was in talks with Dallas developer Lincoln Property Co. to lease as much as 300,000 square feet in a 12-year deal at its Latitude 34 project at 12130 and 12180 Millennium.
Kent Handleman, Lincoln’s senior vice president of marketing, said it wasn’t clear why Riot Games walked away from that deal.
“Whether it was cold feet or eyes bigger than their stomach, I don’t know the real reason,” he said.
When Riot Games began showing a serious interest in the property in the spring, Lincoln Property halted plans it had to reimagine the space for more creative uses.
“Riot Games was going to convert the space on their own, and we had given them an allowance to do that because we knew it needed to be done,” Handleman said.
Lincoln Property recently resumed those renovation efforts, hiring downtown L.A. architecture firm Gensler. Plans include landscaping the property’s courtyard areas and adding cabanas and outdoor meeting areas, as well as outdoor stairways to upper levels. Construction is expected to begin in January and be completed by summer.
The goal, Handleman said, is to attract a variety of technology and creative tenants of all sizes, not necessarily a single large company.
“We’re not just looking for the next Riot Games,” he said.
Matthew Miller, a managing principal at West L.A. tenant brokerage firm Cresa, represented Riot Games in the deal.
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